I close the door behind me and instantly turn the music up on my phone by at least three clicks. I can’t hear anything else other than the warm embrace of Ellie Rowsell’s voice and the corridor spins around me as I pirouette my way to the lifts. A quick check to see if anyone else is coming and then the air drumming or air guitarring begins accompanied with whispered lyrics. I hop out of the building and make my way quickly down the South Bank towards Waterloo Bridge. It’s getting late so the people aren’t so clearly defined and they seem to just merge into groups of movement in my eyes. The wind is frustratingly cold and my hair whips around my face; I keep pushing it out of my eyes until I eventually realise it’s pointlessness.
Drums echo through my head as the water laps against the walls and I break out into a sprint as the chorus arrives. Two steps at a time I climb onto the bridge but no bus awaits me. The boredom etched upon the faces of those others waiting to travel into South London inspires me only to enjoy myself more. And I dance in what would be considered understated for a party but what is considered to be obnoxiously loud for the bus stop at 8pm. My foot taps along to the speed of the music and as each bus passes I avoid frustration simply enjoying the fact that I’ll be able to get through more of this album on the way. Eventually a 59 glides across the bridge and stops. I get on and look down the lower deck of the bus; if one of the seats nearest to the middle doors was vacated I would sit down but they rarely are. Instead I stand in the multipurpose wheelchair, old person or small person space and continue to sway with each passing bar of music. Though each of my movements are more muted now due to the confined space and the fact that I am forcibly subjecting others to my apparently obnoxious detachment to happiness.
As we pass through Camberwell the greyness blurs passed the windows and I relax into the music. Barely conscious of who and what is around me, I only just notice the woman with the buggy getting on but I do sidle over in time. The sigh of “Poor woman, having a teenager in her way” is almost audible throughout the bus but I’m used to feeling like an unhappy inconvenience wherever I go.
Anyway, it’s my stop now so I get off and run down Brixton Road trying to beat the bus to my turning but never daring to run out of time with the music – each step is mirrored by Joel’s snare or bass drum. The bus beat me this time; I had got to the mellower part of the album anyway. Turning onto Mostyn Road in the dark the unknown seems to surround me and cloak me as I wander into an area I am far less familiar with. Feeling like there is some sort of oozing black fear washing up the street behind me at quite a rate, I walk faster, daring to step out of time with Joel’s drums and rushing to the end of the road. Although once I turn off, that fear seems to fade away and I encounter this sense of the sun on my back in spring even though it’s a cold night in February. I’m almost there. My pirouettes return as I countdown the streets till I arrive and suddenly I can’t hear anything anymore; it’s just me and Ellie. One more street.
I pull my earphones out and plunge myself back into the real world, the wind is actually quite biting tonight but her yellow door appears and I tell myself not to smile.